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November 21, 2019

Upending the 5G Status Quo with Open Architecture

By Martijn Rasser

This article is adapted in part from written testimony the author submitted to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The promise of 5G, the next generation of wireless communications technologies, is alluring. New capabilities enabled by much greater bandwidth at higher speeds and lower latency than is possible today are expected to transform the economy and society of the United States. These include autonomous vehicles, telemedicine, and a true “Internet of Things” that connects millions of devices, machines, objects, and people. 5G also has important national security applications, such as improving military communication and situational awareness. The fact that, at present, there is no American company that can provide a complete 5G rollout is a concern. As such, the United States should consider new approaches to 5G that increase interoperability, security, vendor diversity, and operator growth.

A common refrain is that 5G could be among the most consequential technological innovations in human history, ushering in a fourth industrial revolution in a few years’ time. While such exuberance should be tempered by the fact that this transformation will almost certainly need longer time to take place, the fact remains that 5G will be the backbone of the global internet economy. It is essential, then, that 5G networks are secure, reliable, robust, and resilient.

Read the full article in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.

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